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Reboot your well-being

Empty nester finds new pursuits living at Maris Grove

Created date

April 18th, 2018
To brighten a dreary January day, Mike Guzzardi purchased armfuls of colorful flowers and distributed them to his neighbors at Maris Grove.

To brighten a dreary January day, Mike Guzzardi purchased armfuls of colorful flowers and distributed them to his neighbors at Maris Grove.

After Mike Guzzardi’s daughter spent a post-graduate school year in New Zealand and then moved to Center City Philadelphia, Mike realized he’d become a permanent empty nester and should move from his four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath house in Springfield, Pa.

“I decided to make only one move,” he says. “Being in the real estate industry, I knew if I downsized to a smaller place, I’d eventually have to do it again a few years later. And a 55-plus community wouldn’t solve the loneliness or provide the socialization that keeps you young and healthy.”

He’d gotten acquainted with Maris Grove, Erickson Living’s continuing care retirement community in Delaware County, Pa., when he attended a real estate seminar there some years ago. He also knew people who’d moved there.

“I liked it,” he says. “It had a nice, supportive, friendly, comfortable feel. The  refundable entrance deposit and the on-site continuing care also attracted me.”

Time to make a difference

Last September, Mike retired and moved to Maris Grove.

“Before,” he says, “I was always working, and things were always rushed. Now I’m focusing on friends and volunteering.”

Mike volunteers in the Family Caregiver Center at Penn Medicine providing support and a listening ear to family members of hospitalized patients.

That commitment adds structure to his day, but more importantly, “I can see the difference I make in those people’s lives,” says Mike. “It makes me feel good to do something for someone else, and I think about all the people who’ve done things for me.”

It’s much the same at Maris Grove, where community members know they can count on their neighbors for friendship and for help when they need it.

Medical peace of mind

A Type 1 diabetic and a single person, Mike used to worry about coping on his own should he have a medical emergency.

Now, he has peace of mind knowing that if he needs to pull his apartment’s emergency cords, that action will immediately bring the campus security team who are trained as first responders. In addition, Maris Grove’s on-site medical center and continuing care neighborhood are conveniently located on campus.

And with neighbors all around, Mike will never be alone.

Even his apartment keeps him from feeling lonely. The views from his windows allow him to see what’s going on, even when the mail comes and his daughter arrives to visit.

Constructing a better lifestyle

His two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath Walton-style apartment, one of Maris Grove’s largest floor plans, features a family room, kitchen, dining room, and living room arranged in an expansive, open flow design.

Mike sleeps in the smaller bedroom and uses the master as his office. It holds bookcases filled with knick-knacks, souvenirs from his world travels, and albums of photos from those trips.

Antique glass display cases hold about 30 of his LEGO constructions. “Doing LEGOs is mental relaxation,” Mike says.   

While moving to Maris Grove hasn’t slowed his active lifestyle, it has decluttered his responsibilities and let him replace old routines with new experiences.

“It was like a reboot,” Mike says. “Living here has surpassed my expectations. I’m so happy I made the move.”